Vegan Raspberry Oat Shortbread

IMG_2593     This Vegan Raspberry Oat Shortbread is buttery, with a light crunch from the oats and almonds, and sweetness from the raspberry jam.  This is more of a delicate shortbread–amazing with tea, or any time.  Other raspberry bars on this site include Ottolenghi Raspberry Oat Bars (thicker and nuttier with a touch of caramel), and plain Raspberry Oat Bars (more of a rustic crumble bar).  Yes, it would seem I have a thing for raspberry bars. . .

VEGAN RASPBERRY OAT SHORTBREAD

Makes:  16 squares

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon cold vegan butter (Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
3/4 Cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 Cup slivered almonds
1/4 Cup raspberry jam  (I like Dickinson’s Red Raspberry)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/16th teaspoon almond extract

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter an 8-inch baking pan and put it in the fridge.  Mix the jam with the vanilla and almond extracts, stirring until it’s a somewhat smooth consistency, and then leave it out at room temperature.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt.  Then add oats and pulse a few times.  Cube the vegan butter and add it, pulsing until the mixture starts to cling together in bits.  Then add almonds and pulse just until incorporated.  The idea is NOT to grind up the almonds–you just want them in pieces throughout the dough.

Set aside 1/2 Cup of the dough.  Press the rest GENTLY but evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the dough, leaving at least a 1/4 inch-wide border (in other words, do not spread the jam all the way to the edges).  Sprinkle the reserved dough evenly over the jam.

Bake until the edges are starting to turn golden, about 20-23 minutes.  Within 5-10 minutes, run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen.  You can also make your cuts after about 10 minutes, cutting straight down (do not use a sawing motion).  The end of a thin flat spatula works well for this.  The shortbread will firm as it cools.  Store in fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes:  This recipe took me three tries to get right.  I started out adding fresh raspberries but the end result was then too gooey and wet.  I pressed the dough too firmly in the pan and it was hard to cut into squares, and a bit tough.  I also found that for best results, it kind of matters in which order you process the dough ingredients.
IMG_2588  Leave the edges of the dough bare, as the jam will spread on its own.

Vegan Ottolenghi Raspberry Oat Bars

IMG_1971    These vegan Raspberry and Oat Bars by Yotam Ottolenghi have a caramel nut topping,  raspberry filling and rustic oat-pastry base.  You can vary the types of nuts and jam–use what you have on hand.  Although there are a few steps to these, this is an easy recipe,  and you wind up with something rich, decadent and kind of special.  I did add a pinch of salt to the topping, and used Spelt flour instead of all-purpose flour.  There is another excellent Raspberry Oat Bar on this site as well.

VEGAN OTTOLENGHI RASPBERRY OAT BARS

Makes 16 bars

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup spelt flour   (or all-purpose flour,  or whole wheat pastry flour)
scant 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
6 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/3 Cup vegan sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 Cup rolled oats

3/4 Cup raspberry jam  (I prefer Dickinson’s brand)

TOPPING
3/4 Cup sliced almonds
3/4 Cup raw pecans,  chop coarsely
1/2 Cup raw hazelnuts, chop coarsely
1/2 Cup raw Brazil nuts, chop coarsely

6 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/3 Cup vegan sugar
2 Tablespoons So Delicious Coconut Creamer  (or other plant milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper each way so the paper comes up each side of the pan to create tabs to lift the bars/slab out of the pan.  This will take two longer sheets of parchment paper.

To make the base.  Dry whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add sugar and dry whisk again.  Add cold vegan butter in small chunks, and cut in with a pastry cutter to form a crumb texture.  Stir in the oats.  Press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool 10-15 minutes.  Stir jam until smooth and then spread the jam over the base crust.

To make the topping.  Place all chopped nuts in a large, heat-resistant bowl and stir  together.  In a small saucepan, heat butter, sugar and plant milk over medium heat.  Stir until sugar has dissolved, and then stir in vanilla.  Pour this mixture over the chopped nuts and stir together.  Pack nut mixture evenly over the jam/base, and return pan to oven to bake for 30 more minutes, until nuts have turned a nice golden brown.  Leave pan to cool on rack.  When it’s fairly cool, chill in fridge (it will firm up in the fridge).  Remove from pan and onto a large cutting board.  Peel away parchment paper and cut into squares.

Notes:  I reduced the butter in the base and in the topping by one Tablespoon each, as written above.  Measure out and then chop the nuts.
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Vegan Salty Oat Cookie

 

IMG_0662     Vegan Mofo 2013.  People are crazy for the Salty Oat cookie at Teaism in DC, so here’s a vegan version of that famous confection.  We can be conscious of suffering and still eat amazing sweets, and these wicked-good cookies are proof of that.  In my head, I’m calling them Be-ism cookies, because they let the animals be.

SALTED OAT COOKIES

Makes 36 to 45 cookies

INGREDIENTS
1.5 sticks Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, at almost room temperature
1 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 Cup sugar
pinch cinnamon  (1/16th teaspoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Ener-G Egg Replacer to equal 2 eggs  (1 Tablespoon Ener-G plus 1/4 Cup water)
1.75 Cups flour
2 Cups rolled oats
1/2 Cup golden raisins
fine sea salt for sprinkling  (not kosher salt)

DIRECTIONS
Dry whisk the baking powder and baking soda into the flour.  Then dry whisk the oats into the flour mixture, and set aside.  In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides, add the sugars, cinnamon and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well mixed, at least 2 minutes.  Add egg replacer and beat another 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and raisins, just until incorporated.  Cover dough and chill for at least one hour, or overnight before baking.  If you’re putting the dough into a container for chilling, do not pack the dough, just put it in there gently.  Do not skip the chilling, or the cookies may spread on the pan during baking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a Tablespoon for a measure, scoop out the dough and form gently into flattened balls (fat discs).  Do not pack the dough in your hands, be gentle.  Sprinkle each dough ball with fine sea salt, just as you would sugar.  Bake one sheet at a time, for 13-14 minutes, until cookies are beginning to turn golden.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely before storing.

Notes:  I made these cookies smaller than some.  I like the cookies to have a little bit of a crispy edge, so I bake them at least 14 minutes.

Nutty Buddy Bars

This Nutty Buddy Bar is sort of like my old favorite, the Payday candy bar, which is not vegan.  No worries, because this tastes way better.  Since I was creating this, I had license to add anything I wanted, and you can too.  The Lyle’s Golden Syrup, while British, is easily available in most U.S. grocery stores, and it adds a buttery unctuousness that’s hard to describe, with a slight caramel flavor.  The salt is a tiny bit intense but is an amazing foil against the sugar, and makes up the whole “salted nuts” flavor profile.  Any kind of nut combinations would do, so I plan to experiment with hazelnuts, pecans, etc., someday.   Vegan Mofo 2012.
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Nutty Buddy Bars

Makes approximately 12 to 16 bars, depending upon how you cut them.

INGREDIENTS
1 Earth Balance Buttery Stick  (1/2 Cup vegan butter)
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 Cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 Cup slivered almonds (also called blanched almonds)
1/4 Cup white sesame seeds
1/2 Cup cocktail peanuts
1/4 Cup raisins

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper  (cut the parchment paper slightly long so you will be able to grasp it to pull the baked-and-cooled bar mass out of the pan).
In a large bowl, combine oats, all nuts and dried fruit, and stir well.
In a large saucepan, combine vegan butter, brown sugar, syrup and salt over medium heat.
Cook, stirring, just until you see a bubble or two, about 5 minutes, and remove from heat.
Combine oat/nut mixture with syrup mixture, stir well and press evenly into prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, making sure edges turn golden brown, but do not burn.
Allow mixture to fully cool in the pan, so it can harden and set.
Lift nut bar mass onto a cutting board and cut into bars.  I used a long, serrated bread knife.
Eat, store in refrigerator, or freeze.

Notes:  Mix and match, use any combination of nuts and fruit you like!  Wrap in wax paper for the best lunchbox or road trip snack ever.

Vegan Molasses Cookies

These classic American molasses cookies are going in the mail tomorrow to my father in-law in the Midwest, for his 80th birthday.  They are a bit like him, progressive but still a bit old fashioned.   No eggs or dairy butter, but still with all the traditional flavor.  Happy Birthday, George, wish we could be there for the big day!
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VEGAN MOLASSES COOKIES

Makes 48 to 50 cookies

INGREDIENTS
4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Earth Balance Buttery Stick (1/2 Cup vegan butter)
1/2 Cup vegetable shortening, such as Spectrum brand
1 Cup white sugar
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup unsulfured molasses
3 teaspoons Ener-G powder plus 4 Tablespoons water (egg substitute)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
Mix Ener-G together to a froth, and set aside.
In another large bowl, beat with an electric mixer butter, shortening, sugars and molasses until fluffy, like for several minutes on medium to high speed.
Add Ener-G mixture and beat again.
Gradually add flour mixture, and combine well.
In small shallow bowl put 1/3 Cup sugar.
Using a measuring tablespoon, form dough balls and flatten them slightly and roll in the sugar.
On baking sheets, arrange cookies 3 inches apart.
Bake in middle of oven for 13 minutes at most, or until risen and slightly cracked.
Cookies should be soft because they will harden as they cool.
Cool on baking sheets for 3 minutes or so.
Transfer to racks to cool.
You can try one batch at 12 minutes for a softer cookies the next day.   (Vegan Mofo 2012)

Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Described as “a bowl of cereal, s’more and cookie all rolled into one,” this famous treat is sold at Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City.  This vegan version of the Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies by Christina Tosi took me two tries to make.  On the first batch I followed her amounts and directions and the cookies were thin, flat, greasy and overly salty.  I found her recipe short on flour, oily, and under leavened, and of course I was using an egg substitute.  So, I added flour, bumped up the leavening, reduced the fat and salt, substituted the egg, veganized the Cornflake Crunch, and used vegan marshmallows.  In future, I will add a touch more flour, and reduce the sugar a little (these are so packed with sugar that you would never miss it).  I made normal size cookies, not the 15 to 20 giant cookies specified in the original recipe.  I also chilled the dough in a bowl overnight instead of chilling individual cookies on sheets because, who the hell has room for that?  So, the conclusion is that these are now so decadent and different that it was worth it.  They are crunchy and have little hits of velvety chocolate and pockets of baked marshmallow that are not gooey but almost meringue’y.  Took these to Book Club last night, and froze a bunch.  These are the wow cookies for a special occasion, not something you really want hanging around the house!  Another photo below.
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Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Please note that this cookie dough MUST sit in the fridge overnight, or they will just spread all over the baking sheet.  Also, it requires making the Cornflake Crunch first.

Makes 60-65 normal-size cookies

INGREDIENTS
1.5 Cups Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, at room temperature
1.25 Cups granulated sugar
2/3 Cup packed brown sugar
Ener-G Egg Replacer to equal one egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 Cups Corn flake Crunch
2/3 Cups vegan chocolate chips
1 Cup Dandies Vegan Marshmallows  (minis, or cut the regular size ones in half with scissors)

DIRECTIONS
In a small mixing bowl, dry whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegan butter and both sugars on medium-high speed, 2 to 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg substitute and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 more minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix just until dough comes together, no longer than one minute.
Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.
With the mixer on low, add Cornflake Crunch and chocolate chips, and mix until just combined, 30 to 45 seconds.
Add mini vegan marshmallows  (or regular size Dandies cut in halves or thirds) and mix until just incorporated.
Place dough in airtight container and chill overnight or up to one week.  Do not skip this step or cookies will spread on the baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Shape cookies using a round measuring Tablespoon.
Flatten cookies slightly.
Bake approximately 12-13 minutes until puffed, cracked and slightly browned on the edges.
Let cool on baking sheets at least 5 minutes.
Tosi says these cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days, and frozen for up to one month.

Note:  If you cannot find the mini vegan marshmallows, it’s important to cut the Dandies in halves and/or thirds.  The marshmallow puffs and spreads as it bakes, so if you want any uniformity in your cookies, this is what I recommend.  To save time, make the Cornflake Crunch a day early and measure out your dry ingredients into a jar the night before.

Vegan Cornflake Crunch a La Momofuku

Corn Flake Crunch is a mixture that Chef Christina Tosi uses to make her Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.  Here, I’ve easily veganized and improved it.  I’ve also veganized several other Momofuku recipes on this site, such as the Blueberry and Cream Cookies,  the Milk Bar Compost Cookies and even the Momofuku Pork Buns.  Just to remind you,  Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are not vegan, and they are not even vegetarian.  Due to the over-hyped Vitamin D demand, they are now using Lanolin in their cereals.  There are great cruelty-free sources of Vitamin D-2 by companies like DevaVegLife, Freeda, and others.  Vegan Mofo 2012.

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Vegan Cornflake Crunch

Makes 4 Cups

INGREDIENTS
5 ounces Erewhon Corn Flakes vegan cereal
1/2 Cup Better Than Milk powder
3 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (4 oz.), melted

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, dry whisk the soy milk powder, sugar and salt.
Place cornflakes in a mixing bowl and using your hands, crush them to 1/4 of their original size.
To the Corn Flakes, add vegan milk powder, sugar and salt, and toss to combine.
Add melted butter and stir to mix well.
Spread Cornflake mixture in an even layer on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until corn flakes are toasted and buttery, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Notes:  Tosi says that Cornflake Crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, and refrigerated or frozen for up to one month.

Vegan Blueberry and Cream Cookies a la Momofuku Milk Bar

Here is a better, vegan version of the Blueberry and Cream Cookies by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar.  In an earlier post, I blogged a vegan version of the Momofuku Milk Crumbs, an optional component of this recipe.  I made these cookies twice, and the first time, I did use the glucose she calls for.  With the glucose, the cookies were too hard, and got harder as they sat on the counter for a couple of days.  For the second batch, I simply used 2 Tablespoons of Light Corn Syrup and it worked better.  The cookies still have that sort of chewy resistance, but do not get so hard.  I also found that this recipe really needs all the dried blueberries called for, because they make this cookie, and I actually increased them.  In short, this recipe, as made from the Martha Stewart web site, was too brittle, too oily, too salty and under-leavened, so I adjusted ingredients accordingly.  Finally, it’s important to chill this dough, or the cookies will spread in the pan.  I used a measuring Tablespoon for my scoop, so I got 40 nice size cookies, instead of 14 giant cookies).  Once baked, the cookies also froze well.  I eliminated the step of chilling the dough balls on sheets, as this is unnecessary.  I don’t have room in my fridge for several baking sheets of dough balls, do you?  Unlike the Martha recipe version, on the Bon Appetit site, Tosi calls for putting the sheets of dough balls in the fridge overnight and then cooling and refilling the sheets in between batches.  On the Good Morning America site, she says to refrigerate the sheets of dough balls for one hour or up to one week.  No need for all that; just chill the entire batch of dough in an airtight container overnight.  The last thing I’ll tell you is that you could skip the Milk Crumbs if you don’t want to deal with them.  They are a bit of a gimmick and you could simply use some vegan white chocolate chips.

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Vegan Blueberry and Cream Cookies

Makes approximately 40 cookies

INGREDIENTS
2.5 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 oz. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Karo Light Corn Syrup
Ener-G Egg Replacer to equal 1 egg
1 Cup dried blueberries
1/2 Cup plus 1/3 Cup Milk Crumbs (I just used the whole batch of Milk Crumbs, which is a bit more than this)

DIRECTIONS
Make sure you have your Milk Crumbs ready, or substitute in some vegan white chocolate chips.
In a large bowl, dry whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
In stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together vegan butter, sugars and corn syrup until well combined.
Add egg replacer and mix until well combined.
Add flour mixture and mix until well combined.
Add blueberries and milk crumbs and mix until well combined.
Chill dough for several hours or overnight in an airtight container (this is important or they will spread in the pan).
Keep dough in fridge in between batches!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Use level Tablespoon to measure out cookies onto prepared sheets.
Bake 12-13 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.
Eat and/or freeze.

Notes:  You can simply use white chocolate chips instead of the Milk Crumbs. 

Vegan Milk Crumbs

Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar created something called Milk Crumbs, which she adds to some of her famous, non-vegan dessert recipes.  Her Milk Crumbs are made with nonfat cow- milk powder. Now, with Vegan Milk Crumbs, we can make Tosi’s basic recipes without killing anyone.  You see, when we drink cows’ milk, we flood our bodies with the natural pregnancy hormones of suffering, innocent beings.  And we also personally create a system where cows are forcibly impregnated their entire lives so they will lactate to “give” us milk.  And all the male baby cows born from these pregnancies are chained for their short lives, and then literally dragged to slaughter because they cannot walk.  And they are never allowed one drop of their own mothers’ milk.  So, if we’re drinking cow’s milk and eating cheese, we might as well be eating veal.  And all this is aside from the foreign, heart-stopping cholesterol we take in.  We don’t drink horse milk, and we are the only species who will drink the milk of another animal.  And did you know that drinking cow milk actually thins bones?  It’s true and you can find many studies that show it.  When we have the Meat and Dairy councils funding the American Food Pyramid and financing medical schools, it’s no wonder we have been duped for generations.
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Vegan Milk Crumbs

Makes enough for a batch of cookies.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Better Than Milk Soy Powder
      (with 2 Tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoons set aside)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1.5 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, melted
1/4 Cup vegan white chocolate chips, melted

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 Tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoons milk powder, flour cornstarch, sugar and salt.
Stir in melted vegan butter until well combined.
Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven.
Bake until dried and crumbly, about 25-30 minutes or so.
Remove milk crumble from oven and let cool completely.
Chop up coarsely.
First, transfer Milk Crumble to medium mixing bowl and fold in remaining Better Than Milk Powder and toss gently.
Then, add melted white chocolate and fold in gently.
Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
If necessary, chop cold Milk Crumbs further.

Notes:  I get my white chocolate chips from The Vegan Store, but you can also buy them from Vegan Essentials, etc.   Christina Tosi uses these Milk Crumbs in various recipes, including her Blueberry and Cream Cookies

Vegan Raspberry Oat Bars

These vegan Raspberry Oat Bars are delicious and easy.  Elegant enough for high tea, but (wrapped in wax paper and eaten out of hand) rustic enough for a picnic.  The flavor reminds me of the beautiful raspberry cookies we had in Amsterdam.   On this site, there is also a vegan version of the Ottolenghi Raspberry Oat Bars.

VEGAN RASPBERRY OAT BARS

INGREDIENTS
(for crust and crumb)
1.5 Cups flour (any combination of all-purpose, whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat)
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1.25 Cups rolled oats (and/or granola)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1.5 sticks Earth Balance Buttery Sticks

3/4 Cup seedless raspberry jam  (Dickinsons’s brand has great flavor.)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place vegan butter out to soften a bit.  Line an 8-9 inch square baking pan each way with parchment paper extending up the sides of the pan (this will help you lift the bars out onto a flat surface for cutting).   Or just generously grease the pan and place it in the fridge.

In a medium bowl, dry whisk all dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to butter, and use pastry cutter to incorporate until there is no powdery texture left.  Reserve 1.25 Cups scant of the crumbles/dough and put aside.  Press remaining dough gently into the pan with the back of a spoon, or your fingers.  Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven and set pan on rack to cool for 7 minutes.

With a spoon, spread jam on warm crust.  Crumble the remaining crust mixture on top of the jam.  Bake 15 minutes more.  Remove from oven and cool pan on rack.  Chill and cut into squares.

Notes:  I used Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.  You can substitute in a cup of granola for the oats.  And/or mix 2-3 Tablespoons of sweetened flake coconut into the jam before spreading.  You can also add 1/16th teaspoon of almond extract to the jam, if you want to gild the lily.

Vegan No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I remember this fast and easy recipe from when i was a child.  This unlikely-looking cookie is one of the first things some kids learn to make, in part because there is no baking required.   With a zero-cholesterol butter like Earth Balance, vegan kids of all ages can enjoy this.  Before we get to the recipe, I want you to squelch that foodie scoff, because these are really delicious;  like a cross between an oatmeal cookie and the best homemade fudge.  The peanut butter flavor is faint but it gives complexity, and adds protein while filling the fat quotient of this recipe.  I was going to give this whole batch to the flooring guys, but somehow, there are a few missing . . .  must be Menehunes.  Vegan No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.  See Nutrition Info. below.
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Vegan No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 24

INGREDIENTS
1/4 Cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup soy milk or other plant milk
4 Tablespoons Cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
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1/2 Cup peanut butter (my favorite is Maranatha Organic No Stir)
3-1/2 Cups Rolled Oats (organic, of course)
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Add first five ingredients to large saucepan.
Bring to boil, and boil for one minute while stirring.
Stir in peanut butter until it dissolves.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Stir in oats and drop rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper.

Notes:  To make a half batch, as I did, simply reduce all above ingredients by half.  I stored mine in the fridge and really liked it ice cold.

Nutrition for one cookie:  Calories 157.  Fat 5.4.  Saturated Fat 1.2.  Trans Fat 0.  Monounsaturated Fat 2.2.  Cholesterol 0.  Sodium 68.  Potassium 6.3.  Carbs 25.5.  Fiber 2.  Sugars 16.8.  Protein 3.6.  Vitamin A 0.  Vitamin C 0.  Calcium 1.  Iron 4.8.

Vegan Mochiko Butter Cookies

I adapted this from a recipe Betty Shimabukuro put in her popular  “By Request” column in the Honolulu Advertiser.  I think  these were also called Carly’s Cornflake Dreams and were submitted by reader Carlynn Yoshina.  The first time I made them, the taste of baking soda was overwhelming.  I checked the measurements and this was definitely over-leavened, as many recipes are.  By reducing the baking soda by half, we now have a great little cookie.  It’s buttery and has that shortbread essence that’s so popular with Locals in Hawaii.  The fine Corn Flakes coating becomes slightly toasted in the oven, and adds a pleasing flavor and crunch.  I replaced the butter with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks and the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes with Erewhon Corn Flakes.  Not only are Erewhon Corn Flakes organic, but they’re also sugar free.  On the long list of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes ingredients are sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and they’re made with animal products.  They’re not even vegetarian, nor are they organic.  Erewhon Corn Flakes, on the other hand, have just two ingredients; organic milled corn, and sea salt, AND they are non-GMO!  Since Erewhon Corn Flakes taste just like the bad Corn Flakes, why would we want to use anything else?  You won’t really taste the macadamia nuts, but they add a golden richness to this little cookie.
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Mochiko Butter Cookies

Makes 48-60 regular cookies.  Jam thumbprints take up about twice the dough as a regular cookie.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound Earth Balance vegan butter (2 Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
3/4 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 Cup mochiko flour
1-2 Cups Erewhon Corn Flakes cereal, crushed fine (use a food processor or blender, not a rolling pin)
1 Cup chopped macadamia nuts (optional) (or you could use less).  I think chopped pecans would also be good, for a butter-pecan flavor.

DIRECTIONS
Set vegan butter in large mixing bowl to soften.
(I lined my baking sheets with parchment paper, but it is possibly not necessary)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add sugar to butter, and mix with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and nuts, and beat again.
In a separate  bowl, put flour, baking soda, salt and mochiko.
Dry whisk the dry ingredients to thoroughly blend.
Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture, and mix until well incorporated.
Chill dough for at least one hour.
Using a level teaspoon or a slightly-rounded teaspoon, measure out cookies, roll into balls, and then roll balls into crushed Corn Flakes.
Place cookie balls onto cookie sheet and bake approximately 15 minutes depending upon your oven.  I have an electric oven and found that 15 minutes worked for me.

Variation:  If you wish to make jam thumbprints, use 2 teaspoons of dough per cookies, roll in balls, roll in corn flakes and then make your thumbprint and fill scantily with jam of your flavor.  I’ll make a note here to try my favorites, either raspberry or guava jam.

Notes:  Keep in mind that these cookies will harden as they continue to cool, and becomes pleasingly crisp.  Do not over bake.  PLEASE NOTE THAT KELLOG’S CORN FLAKES ARE NOT VEGAN.

Vegan Royal Icing

Here’s my first attempt at a Royal Icing without the egg whites or meringue powder.  It works great and tastes just like it ought to.  Simple to make and easy to work with, so I’m pretty happy.  I did read some vegan recipes online that call for corn syrup, but I decided to try using Ener-G Egg Replacer instead.  A box of this stuff is about $6 but it lasts for a couple of years, even if you bake a lot.  I would say it’s one of those basic pantry necessities.  The classic Christmas Cookie is one of my favorite holiday traditions, and Royal Icing is an integral part of it.  I always leave the iced cookies out overnight so the icing fully cures and hardens some.  Also, i always put a bit of colored sugar or sprinkles or something on the wet icing, because this helps keep the cookies from sticking to each other when they’re stacked in tins.
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Vegan Royal Icing

Makes 2 Cups or so

INGREDIENTS
1 Lb. confectioners (powdered) sugar
5 Tablespoons Ener-G Egg Replacer powder
scant 1/2 Cup water (you probably won’t need all this water)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

DIRECTIONS
Put powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.
Add Ener-G Egg Replacer powder, and dry whisk to combine.
Add water, a little at a time, and stop when it is the right consistency.  I usually do not add all the water, and you don’t want it watery.
Add the almond extract.
Mix well with an electric hand-held mixer.
Divide icing and tint each portion your desired colors.
Chill icing for at least an hour or overnight.

Notes:  For Christmas cookies, make sure cookies are fully cooled on racks before you ice them.  I like to immediately sprinkle the iced cookies with edible glitter, colored sugar, sprinkles, etc., while the icing is still wet enough so that the decorations will stick.  Once cookies are decorated, leave them out, uncovered overnight in a dry location, so the icing can cure and dry more.  Another classic thing to do is to flavor Royal Icing with lemon or lime juice and the zest of same.  I’m not crazy about the lemon, and I’m a lemon freak.  If you decide to flavor your icing with fruit juice, make sure to reduce the water added by the same amount.  I use a plain old table knife to apply the icing.

Chewy Almond Macaroons

This is my favorite Christmas cookie this year, and these macaroons have neither eggs nor coconut.  My friend Jan Baker is the best cook i know, and she brought these to my house on Christmas Eve.  She is not vegan but she searched for a vegan cookie recipe and found this one from Saveur magazine.  You might think I love this cookie just because it arrived at my doorstep in the hands of a thoughtful friend, but it’s more than that.  It’s also unexpected, delicious, and oh so French.   And in fact, this recipe was given to a Saveur contributor by a second-generation French boulanger (see story).  It’s softly-chewy, and has the taste of cherries that  reminds me of Alsace in Spring.  It has only five ingredients and the directions look pretty simple.  Granted, you will have to seek out some almond paste (not marzipan) that is egg free, some Amaretto liqueur, and superfine sugar, but trust me, these cookies are worth it.  I’m going to see if I can find some Amaretto minis at the liquor store today and try to make them myself.  Ils sont delicieux!
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CHEWY ALMOND MACAROONS

Makes about 20 macaroons

INGREDIENTS
18 oz. almond paste (not marzipan; see note)
1/2 Cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
1 Cup powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the almond paste, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Using your hands, gently knead together just until mixture is incorporated.
Add in liqueur and gently work it into the paste to form a smooth dough.

Sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.
Using a Tablespoon measure, scoop out individual portions of dough, roll into balls and place each in the bowl of powdered sugar.
Coat each ball completely with powdered sugar and place on parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a one-inch space between each macaroon.
Pinch together the sides of each macaroon with your fingers and thumb, leaving a finger-indented well in the center like a little volcano.
Let macaroons sit out for 20 minutes (or up to one hour) to dry.
Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

Note:  Be sure not to over-mix the dough or the macaroons’ characteristic texture will be lost.  These keep beautifully for about a week in an airtight container at room temperature.  Almond paste is similar to marzipan but contains less sugar and no fillers.  Some versions of almond paste do contain cream or eggs, so read your labels carefully.  Marzipan will not work for this recipe.  Comments on the Saveur site included letting the cookies sit out for one hour so that they would retain their volcano shape.  Others didn’t worry about it and said their cookies went flat but still tasted amazing.  A couple of reviewers also recommended Solo brand almond paste and said it is vegan and also gluten free, and comes in 8-ounce cans.                                                                                         

Vegan Molasses Ginger Crisps

This is a very popular Martha Stewart recipe that I veganized.   They have three different types of ginger in them, and that might sound scary to some, but trust me, they’re amazing.  Even people who are not crazy about ginger like them.  Christmas cookies are one of my favorite holiday traditions and this recipe makes plenty to give away too.  This is a good time to explain why I never use Kosher salt; it tastes horribly chemical, whereas sea salt provides a beautiful, natural flavor.  I also shun iodized salt in baking due to flavor issues.
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Vegan Molasses Ginger Crisps

Makes about 6 dozen

INGREDIENTS
2.5 Cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks (one cup) room temperature Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1.5 Cups granulated sugar
Ener-G Egg Replacer to equal one egg (1.5 tsp Ener-G plus 2T water, frothed)
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (peel before grating)
2 Tablespoons finely-chopped crystallized “candied” ginger
1/4 Cup unsulfured molasses (I like organic molasses)
1 Cup coarse sanding sugar (or regular sugar)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt.
Beat butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium high speed until pale and fluffy.
Beat in molasses, and grated and crystallized gingers.
Beat in egg replacer.
Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in the flour in three additions.
Shape teaspoons of dough into balls and roll in sanding (or granulated) sugar.
Space dough balls 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake until cookies are flattened and dark golden brown, 9-10 minutes.
Let cool on sheets 5 minutes.
Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
My personal tip is to place the mixing bowl of dough in the refrigerator between each sheet that you bake.  It keeps the dough cold and very easy to roll.
Cookies can be stored in airtight containers for up to 2 days or frozen for up to one month.

Notes:  In my electric, non-convection oven, I baked the first sheet for 12 minutes but then reduced the time to 11 minutes and then to 10 minutes for the rest of the sheets.  I buy my candied ginger at the health food store, but you could also make your own.

Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies

Since going vegan, I had not found a really good peanut butter cookie.  I tried the recipe from TJOVB, and didn’t love it, etc.  Recently, i found some  Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes, and on the back of the box was a little recipe for Crispy Quinoa Cookies.  I never thought this would also turn out to be a really good, gluten-free Peanut Butter cookie.  I took a bite, expecting more of a Middle Eastern or quinoa flavor, but no, it just tastes like a great little peanut butter cookie!  I switched out the honey and got lucky on the results.  These would be great to pack into lunch boxes, take on hikes and bikes, and are good enough to give as gifts.  Gluten Free and loaded with protein, but you’d never know.  I’d like to try making them as peanut-butter-and-jelly thumbprint cookies.

PEANUT BUTTER QUINOA COOKIES

Makes:  about 36 to 40 cookies

INGREDIENTS
1/4 Cup agave syrup
1/4 Cup real maple syrup
1/3 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup vegan butter (one stick of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1/2 Cup peanut butter (I like Maranatha No-Stir  or  O Organics No Stir)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup rice flour
3/4 Cup Quinoa Flakes (Ancient Harvest brand)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 Cup sliced almonds (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, beat agave and maple syrups, brown sugar, vegan butter, peanut butter and vanilla, until creamy.    In a medium bowl, combine rice flours, quinoa flakes, baking soda and salt, and dry whisk.    Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until well blended.
If using, add nuts and mix just until incorporated.
Measure out rounded teaspoons and then flatten them slightly.  Place about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper).
Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown (I found 13 minutes just right for my electric, non-convection oven).    Cool one minute before transferring cookies to rack.

Notes:  Cookies will firm up slightly once cooled.  I made them one time using 1/2 Mochiko flour and 1/2 brown rice flour, and they were good.  These cookies do not spread much, so that’s why I flatten the dough balls slightly before baking.

Vegan Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies

This is a very popular cookie in New York City, from the Momofuku Milk Bar restaurant and bakery.  Momofuku is not vegan, so I veganized the recipe, and the cookies came out sinfully delicious.  Christina Tosi is famous for using “guilty pleasure” snack foods in her bakery, including many wacky childhood favorites.  The main thing is to replace the egg and butter, and then it’s only a matter of following the recipe regarding the mixing of the dough (during one part, the mixer runs for a full ten minutes), and chilling the dough really well.  I did not have light brown sugar in the house and so I used dark brown sugar, and to my surprise, at the end of the long mix, the dough still became almost white (photo below), as it’s supposed to be.  Tosi’s recipe calls for immediately scooping and then chilling entire sheet pans of dough balls in the refrigerator.  But, I do not have room for large baking sheets in my fridge, so I just chilled the entire batch of dough in an airtight bowl in my fridge, and this worked really well.  In fact, the dough, after that long mix, was too warm to scoop neatly anyway.  Also, Tosi’s recipe calls for using a 6 oz. scoop (3 Tablespoons).  I simply used one Tablespoon (2 oz.) for a scoop and got 26 perfectly-sized cookies, instead of 15 giant cookies.  The recipe below is one half batch, so feel free to double it.  You can find links to the actual recipe in several places online.  For my “snack foods,” I chose Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, my own granola, vegan chocolate chips, and crushed Lays potato chips.  I also used the accidentally-vegan butterscotch chips from Food Lion supermarket (Food Lion brand).  My verdict is that the chocolate chips are better than the butterscotch, though.  The key with this cookie is to make sure you have at least one salty ingredient, such as pretzels.  I’ve heard of people using Fritos and Doritos, peanut butter pretzels, crackers, etc.
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Vegan Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie Recipe

Makes approx. 26 cookies (using a one-tablespoon scoop)

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar (I only had dark)
1/2 Tablespoon Corn Syrup (I used 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Ener-G Egg Replacer, to equal one egg (frothed or whisked)
3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (or fine sea salt)
3/4 cups of favorite baking ingredients (choc. chips, raisins, etc.)
3/4 cups your favorite snack foods (go wild)

DIRECTIONS
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
On a lower speed, add egg replacer and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.
When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 45-60 sec just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
On same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30-45 sec until they evenly mix into the dough.
Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed for a few seconds, until they are just incorporated.
Refrigerate dough for at least several hours, overnight, or up to one week.
DO NOT bake your cookies from room temperature, or they will not hold their shape.
Preheat a conventional oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (350F in a convection oven).
When oven is fully pre-heated, using a 1-Tablespoon measure as a scoop, portion chilled dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, keeping cookies 4″ apart in any direction.
Keep dough in refrigerator between batches!
Bake approximately 9 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.
At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for an additional minute if these colors don’t match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage.  I cooled mine for 10 minutes and then transferred them to cooling racks.
At room temp, cookies will keep fresh 5 days. In the freezer, cookies will keep fresh one month.

Notes:  I have an electric, non-convection oven.  Some gas ovens may run hotter.  This recipe is easily doubled.  Momfuku Milk Bar Restaurant uses a 6 oz. scoop (3 Tablespoons), and bakes cookies 8-11 minutes, for fewer, larger cookies.  I will try reducing the baking soda by 1/4 teaspoon next time.  Author of BakeWise says over-leavening can cause eventual collapse of baked goods and actually impede a high rise.  Per one cup flour, she advises either 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder or 1/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda Also, if you want thicker cookies, you could use one full cup of flour in this recipe, as advised by several home bakers.

Maple Walnut Cookies from Vegan With A Vengeance

These Maple Walnut Cookies are from the Vegan With A Vengeance cookbook.  Online, this cookbook is also referred to as VWAV.  Here are my experiences with this recipe:

It’s easy.  I didn’t quite get 36 cookies, but maybe 32 or 33. The cookies are on the thin side, and simultaneously chewy and crispy, depending upon how long you bake them.  I did read some comments that the cookies are too thin, batter is too watery, etc., but I embrace this texture for what it is.  To me, these cookies have a decidedly Autumnal look and flavor, so they would be great in the Fall. There’s a whopping 1.5 Cups of chopped raw walnuts in this recipe and so the walnut flavor is a little too strong for me (and I love walnuts).  So I think next time, I would also try making this recipe with pecans and they would be like “pecan pie” cookies.  All in all, a good recipe but not for those who are not crazy about walnuts.  I found this one old blog post by Vegan Duckling and she made this recipe gluten-free by substituting 1/2 Cup each of quinoa flour, brown rice flour and oat flour.  To thicken the batter, she also added 1/4 Cup more tapioca starch (you could also use arrowroot or corn starch) and 2 more Tablespoons of brown rice flour, and says the cookies came out perfectly.  In her photo, the cookies do look more conventional, and this is perhaps from her thickening of the batter.  However, she doesn’t comment on texture.  So, it seems like this is a forgiving recipe, too.  Just to remind myself, I’ll note here that I should also try adding 1/4 Cup of rolled oats; I think they’d be great in this recipe.  Also, you could use half walnuts and half pecans, etc., etc.  OK, here’s my final thought:  1/2 Cup chop walnuts, plus 1/2 Cup chop pecans, plus 1/2 Cup old fashioned rolled oats.  Good recipe if you love walnuts, but still not stellar as written, in my opinion.  p.s.  I actually prefer this other recipe for similar cookies on this site; Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies.

Macadamia Nut Shortbread

If you’ve never lived in Hawaii, you might not know that the locals LOVE shortbread.  For instance, my friend Velma just emailed me that, for a fundraising effort, the Hilo High School soccer booster parents and soccer girls recently baked 1400-dozen shortbread cookies.  The cookies were bagged and sold for $6 a dozen, raising in the vicinity of $8,000, which will be used for activities such as travel to tournaments, and purchasing necessary items for the team’s use.  In short (ha ha), shortbread is ono (delicious).  Velma’s email reminded me that I’d seen a shortbread being made on a segment about the Big Island last year.  Here’s a good video on just a few of the amazing foods of my beloved Big Island.  About 17 minutes into this video, you can see a Macadamia Nut Shortbread being prepared by a member of Gourmet.  Of course, shortbread is traditionally made with cow fat and loaded with cholesterol, so I had to veganize it.  Earth Balance vegan butter saved the day, and produced a rich, buttery shortbread that we would describe in the Islands as “broke da mouth.”  I made this twice, and didn’t care for it as much the first time, so then I changed several other things to suit my own taste, including reducing the chocolate by half, and using vegan chocolate chips, which are simply real chocolate without the animal secretions.  When you have good macadamia nuts, you don’t need a boatload of chocolate.  One last note is that I was so lucky that my Aunt Pat mailed me a bag of the most amazing macadamia nuts I’ve ever tasted.  They’re from Kuni-Maru Farms in Captain Cook, Hawaii.  They’re large and buttery and incredibly fresh.  They also do sun-dried mac nuts, something I’d never heard of.  Terry Mariyama told me they sun dry them for about a week.  Their roasted nuts are lightly salted, and that’s what I used (as opposed to the strong dry-roasted nuts the original recipe called for).  With my changes, this shortbread became not only violence-free but also sublime.  p.s.  I recommend using a small scale to weigh the nuts before chopping, but it’s not critical.
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Vegan Macadamia Nut Shortbread 

MAKES 16 WEDGES 

• ACTIVE TIME: 20 MIN
• START TO FINISH:1 1/2 HR

INGREDIENTS
6 oz roasted and lightly salted macadamia nuts (1 1/2 cups)
2 sticks Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, softened to room temperature 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (or you can use brown sugar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 oz vegan chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
-Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle or lower middle.
-Toast nuts in a 4-sided sheet pan in oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes, then cool and coarsely chop.  Mac nuts are easy to chop by hand, being somewhat soft.
-Leave oven on.
-Stir together butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt in a bowl with a wooden spoon until combined well.
-Stir in flour, nuts, and chocolate chips until a soft dough forms.
-With floured fingers, pat dough into a 9-inch shiny metal cake pan (not a dark colored pan).
-Score into 16 wedges with tip of a thin, floured knife, wiping and flouring blade in between cuts.
-Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.  In my electric oven, I went for 27 minutes, and brought them to a slightly darker golden color.  This is because my first batch was too soft, not cooked enough.
-Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes.
-Cut into wedges (while still warm) with a sharp knife.
-Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Amanda’s Vegan Biscotti

I make biscotti every year during the holidays, and people always want the recipe.  Back around 1995, I was given some homemade biscotti and it was a revelation.  I had always shunned biscotti because the only kind I had ever tried was from coffee shops; hard and sawdusty and sometimes possibly even stale.  My friend could not reveal the recipe because she planned to market the biscotti.  So I cobbled together some recipes from cookbooks and made several batches of my own, and in the end, I couldn’t really tell the difference between hers and mine.  This is my first vegan holiday season and so I pulled out my old recipe and set about veganizing it.  I had to change cooking times and amounts, and during the baking process, the dough didn’t feel or look quite the same as my old familiar.  But, Lo and behold, we have our own little Christmas miracle; a good vegan biscotti.  Rustic and golden and simultaneously crumbly, crunchy and tender.  Lars was out at a meeting of the Hysterical Society, so I was alone and felt free to scream “YES” in my little kitchen (although I think I scared my dog Ipo).  I should also tell you that I first tried looking around online for vegan biscotti recipes, but they all seemed a bit mediocre.  I drifted off to sleep that night, dreaming up other flavor profiles, such as:
-white chocolate, coconut and toasted almonds
-white chocolate, apricots and slivered almonds
-white chocolate, cranberries and pistachios
-white chocolate, dried pineapple and macadamia nuts
-chocolate chocolate chips and hazelnuts
-chocolate chocolate chips and dried cherries
-chocolate chocolate chips, almonds and coconut
etc., etc.

One final note is that I had to order my dairy-free white chocolate chips online, from Pangea.  The dairy-free chocolate chocolate chips, however, are readily available at most health food stores.  The vanilla beans can be found in the bulk section of your health food store, for much less than the jarred beans.  Here below is my new recipe, the first time out, and with a few minor adjustments for the next time.  For example, I forgot that they harden a bit as they sit, and so I reduced the cooking time slightly here below.  Also, I felt my old recipe was a little too heavy on the chocolate, so I reduced it to 1/3 Cup below.
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Amanda’s Vegan Biscotti

INGREDIENTS
2 ¼ cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Ener-G Egg Replacer to the equivalent of 3 eggs (I use a latte frother)
2 T vegetable oil (I used macadamia nut oil but canola is fine)
1 tsp good vanilla extract
Seeds from one vanilla bean (slit the long way and seeds scraped out with a spoon (not a knife)
1/2 C macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped (I like Kuni-Maru Farms mac nuts from Captain Cook, Hawaii)
1/3 C vegan white chocolate chips
1/4 C candied ginger, diced very fine (if using something milder than candied ginger, use one half cup of other dried fruits, such as apricots)

DIRECTIONS
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
Chop nuts. Dice ginger.  Add these into a small bowl with the chocolate chips and stir a few times to get them evenly mixed up.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and then whisk these dry ingredients.
Put Ener-G in a glass and mix well with a fork, or froth with a latte frother. You could also use one single beater of a hand-held electric beater, in the glass.  For three “eggs” worth, you need 6 Tablespoons of water and 1 Tablespoon plus 1.5 teaspoons of Ener-G powder.
In a small dish, add oil and liquid vanilla.  Slit vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into oil/vanilla mixture and stir with a fork.
Add oil/vanilla mixture to dough.
Add Ener-G mixture to dough.
Stir in nuts, white chocolate and ginger.
Dough will not be wet or sticky.  With your hands, form dough into a cylinder and then cut it in half the long way.  Shape dough right on the counter into 2 flat bottomed cylinders measuring approximately 9 inches long, 3 inches wide and 1 inch high.
Place dough on greased cookie sheet, or parchment paper or Silpat.

Bake for 25 minutes or until very lightly golden on top.
Remove from oven and cool slightly, maybe five minutes.
Remove cylinders carefully from cookie sheet and place on a larger cutting board.
Cut diagonally into ¾ inch slices.
Place slices, cut-side-down, on the parchment paper/cookie sheet. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until sides are golden.  Don’t overcook because they will harden as they cool.
I usually remove the 4 or 5 smallest biscotti ends early as they tend to get a bit too hard with the full cooking time.
Cool completely on wire rack, transfer to an airtight container.

If you want to substitute dried apricots, pour boiling water over them and wait five minutes, then dice.  See additional flavor profiles above.  Please also note that I have a non-convection electric oven that is pretty accurate temperature-wise.  If you have a gas oven that tends to run hotter than electric, you’ll need to adjust temperature or cooking times.  Please see below for photos that will show doneness and texture.


Makes approximately 20-24

This photo shows the biscotti logs after the first baking.  You can see they are starting to just turn golden.  See next photo below to see the cut edges and varying degrees of doneness at that point, before 2nd baking.

Sugar Cookies and Icing

I found this recipe online and the pretty photos convinced me to try it.  Took them to a big Halloween party last night.  The theme of the party was Dia de Los Muertos.  I could not find a good skull cookie cutter, so went with the oak leaves instead.  I would have done the big maple leaves but figured it would not make enough cookies for the party.  With this smaller cookie cutter, I got about 65 cookies out of one batch of the cookie dough.  I did roll some of the cookies a bit thinner than called for.  I found that the original icing recipe iced a lot more cookies than it said, so I have noted that in my rendition below.  I added a bit of salt to the cookie dough and used a tiny bit of lemon juice to thin the icing once it had stood for a while.

Perfect Vegan Sugar Cookies

With a large cookie cutter, like a really big maple leaf, the recipe says it will yield 36 cookies. My smaller cookie cutter yielded about 65 cookies.

INGREDIENTS
1 C vegan butter such as Earth Balance
1 C white sugar
2 whole egg replacements (Ener-G)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ¾ C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
¼ C tofu cream cheese (Tofutti)

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, cream together vegan butter and sugar with an electric mixer.
Mix in egg replacements and vanilla.
In a smaller bowl, stir baking powder and salt into flour until well mixed.
Gradually add flour mixture and tofu cream cheese to the butter/sugar mixture.
Form dough into two thick rounds, wrap each in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ¼” thickness.
Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Tip: If you press the cookie cutter onto the rolled out dough and gently pinch the cookie cutter as you remove it, the raw cookie will lift up with the cutter, which you can then release onto cookie sheets.
Place cookies about one inch apart on the cookie sheets.
Bake for 12-14 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottoms and edges just start to get a light brown.
Remove from baking sheet immediately and place on wire racks.
Cool completely, and then store in an airtight container.

Perfect Vegan Icing Recipe
Two batches of this icing should be enough to coat one batch of the above cookies.

INGREDIENTS
2 C confectioners sugar
6 teaspoons soy milk or rice milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 tsp light corn syrup
½ tsp lemon juice or water for thinning, if necessary
assorted food colorings
sanding sugar, if desired

DIRECTIONS
In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners sugar and soy milk until smooth.
Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy.
Note that the icing will thicken as it stands.
If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup or water or lemon juice. (I use ½ tsp lemon juice).
Divide and color icing in separate bowls.
Dip cookies and allow to dry overnight on sheet pans.

Tips for rolling out the dough. About an hour before you start, put two rolling pins in the freezer. About 15 minutes before you start, put your dough rounds in the freezer too. Have your flour nearby as you will need to lightly add “bench flour” as you roll out the dough between batches. Lightly flour the rolling surface and your rolling pin each time. Lightly flour your dough if you need to also. I always have one dough round and one rolling pin in the freezer. Each time you roll out and cut dough, do so using the coldest dough and rolling pin. Once rolled and cut, put that dough and rolling pin immediately back into the freezer and reach for the other two that have been chilling. I don’t have a convection oven, so I bake one sheet at a time for best results. The dough gets easier to work with as you go, too.  We dipped our cookies to save time, and they looked pretty, just make sure you let them drip for a minute or you’ll have too much icing on them, which will pool and drip.  I like to sprinkle a tiny bit of sanding sugar on the wet icing because it not only gives them a bit of sparkle, it also helps prevent the cookies from sticking together if you stack them.

 

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies

I made this recipe for an outdoor Fall brunch some friends threw last Sunday, and they seemed to go over well.  I ate one and thought they had a nice praline sort of flavor and crunch.  They tasted like the fall and the south combined.  The funny thing, when all was said and done, was the little brouhaha that happened on the Relish Magazine web site, simply because this recipe does not call for eggs.  One incredulous person asked, “Are there no eggs in this recipe?”   Others claimed their cookies did not turn out when in fact they had baked them too long instead of letting them set up on the baking sheets once out of the oven, as per the instructions.  So, a word about eggs.  We don’t need them people!  In The Joy of Vegan Baking, Colleen Patrick Goudreau devotes seven pages explaining why we don’t need eggs for baking, and guess what?  It all makes perfect sense.  Most of us were taught that eggs were essential for baking, and so these habits can be hard to get over, psychologically.  The marketing for eggs in baking started hundreds of years ago, so we’re getting out from under generations of women teaching us to use eggs.  Billions of chickens suffer terribly every year, and the health costs to humans is extremely high too, not to mention the dire cost to our planet.   Chickens beaks are cut off without anesthesia, and they go insane when their pecking order goes over about a dozen.  Tens of thousands of chickens are stuffed into hot sheds with a tiny hole in one corner, and that constitutes “cage free.”  97% of eggs come from chickens in battery cages where their feet are literally growing into the bottoms of the cages, that’s how tight they are stuffed in.  And they “live” in horrifying disease and chemical, viral, bacterial and parasitic conditions.  Poultry itself is responsible for the majority of cases of food poisoning, according to a new finding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Roughly 76 million people in the US are sickened by food every year.  An outbreak of salmonella in eggs recently caused a nationwide recall of almost half a billion eggs, and sickened more than 13,000 people, and that’s one single event.  So, when a recipe needs a binder, or extra moisture or a bit of leavening that eggs used to provide, other simple ingredients can be substituted.  I’ve baked several vegan things, including cupcakes, and cookies for parties, and used several of these substitutes and have had no failures on the baking front.  And many recipes, like this one, need no egg replacer at all.  So far, I’ve tried ground flax seed, applesauce, banana, baking soda and vinegar, and Ener-G Egg Replacer, and they all worked well.  Certain things work better in certain recipes, but even on my old recipes I’ve adapted, where I winged it, I’ve had no problems.  I read that silken tofu works very well when you want rich, dense, moist cakes and brownies, but I haven’t made any of those yet.  There is a whole other range of readily-available food items you can use when you want to replace eggs as a thickener for sauces; and these include kudzu, agar, arrowroot, cornstarch, and nut and seed butters.  It’s amazingly simple.  OK, I digress.  Here’s the recipe.

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies

“These addictive cookies are certain to be the hit of any bake sale or cookie swap.  Hearty oats and shredded coconut provide a chewy texture while toasted pecans add crunch.  Tightly covered, these cookies will keep one week, although they seldom last that long.”

INGREDIENTS
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup real maple syrup, such as Mapletree Farm brand
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon maple or vanilla extract
2 cups chopped toasted pecans (I just pulsed mine in the food processor and was glad I did)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 300F and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine oats, coconut, flour, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large bowl; whisk to blend.
3. Combine butter, maple syrup and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.
4. In a coffee mug, combine baking soda and boiling water, stirring to dissolve. Note:  baking soda and water will bubble furiously.  Add to maple syrup mixture, stirring well. Add maple extract.  Stir into dry ingredients. Add pecans; stir well.
5. Place 1/4-cup size balls of dough on baking sheets, 3 inches apart. Flatten slightly.
6. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and almost set.  They will harden as they cool.  Cool on the baking sheets for 5 full minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 40 cookies

Interpreted here from a recipe by Julie Hession, in Relish Magazine.

Nutritional Information
Per cookie: 240 calories, 13g fat, 15mg chol., 3g prot., 32g carbs.,
2g fiber, 160mg sodium.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and really good ones too!  They pretty much taste a lot like Toll House cookies.  I’m filling this wax-paper-lined box with cookies because we’re headed up to the mountainous Canaan Valley in West Virginia this weekend, to see some friends and do some real hiking.  I’ve been cooking all day as we’re all bringing food to share.  Since one of my dishes to bring is a dessert, I decided to try these cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.  I won’t type it all out, but you can just click on this link and get the entire recipe, which I did proof against my cookbook to make sure it was correct.  I got out my little latte frother for the Ener-G egg replacer, and easily found some real chocolate, non-dairy chocolate chips at my local health food store, and used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks instead of dairy butter.  I will add a few comments about this recipe.  1)  I used a 1/8 Cup scoop (2T) scant.  I got 30 cookies, not one dozen as the book says you will get.  2)  I had to cook them for 14 minutes, not the 8-10 they call for.  I do think my oven is right on, but you might want to try 10 minutes first and check them.   3)  One scant cup of chocolate chips is enough, seriously.  And remember, vegan cookie batter is entirely safe, so go ahead and lick the spoon.  Tally ho, off to the mountains!

Oatmeal Cookies by Alicia Silverstone

I first saw these Oatmeal, Walnut and Dried Plum Cookies on the Oprah showAlicia Silverstone was there and gave away a few recipes from her new cookbook (The Kind Diet) for the show.  Since we always have dried cherries in the house, I substituted those for the dried plums.  Really easy and good.  I freeze them and then when we have a sweet tooth, I can pull one or two out of the freezer and let them thaw.  I also threw in some white chocolate chips for Lars.  I tend to bake them only for 10 minutes as they will harden just a bit more as they cool.  I think due to the maple sugar, these have a lovely natural sugary crispness (without being too sweet) that is unlike many other cookies.   They are elegant enough for a luncheon or to bring somewhere or give as a gift.  Although the recipe says it makes 10-12 cookies, I used a measuring tablespoon as a scoop, and by my count, I get at least two dozen cookies.    Please note that I reduced the leavening in this recipe, using only 1 teaspoon baking powder and only 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  The cookies actually rose better using these measurements.  Post note Feb. 2014.  I upped the flour to 1 Cup, which helps these cookies hold together better.  I use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, and with the added flour, I bake them 11-13 minutes.